Zoe Williams

Snail Tracks

Commission

2017

http://snailtracks.otdac.org

For her commission Williams has produced a collation of nine short video clips arranged in a grid which allude to the language and structure of adult-content websites. These clips magnify and examine the often heavily fetishised surfaces of materials which include fur, leather, cream cakes, ceramics and bodily fluids.  Each clip features a sound composition by London-based musician Patchfinder, simultaneously responding whilst heightening and creating ruptures with the overt sensuality of the imagery. All of the videos can be downloaded and watched for free. The changing images behind the clips also hyperlink to a seemingly tangential selection of website pages.

For an interview with the artist about her residency, please click here.

Artist
Category
Commission
Tags
, , ,
Year
2017

Shana Moulton

Excerpts

Artwork

2014

http://vimeo.com/75741648

In Restless Leg Saga (2012), Shana Moulton‘s female protagonist grapples with the oppressive symptoms of RLS, a nervous disorder defined by an irrational and intolerable urge to move one’s legs that no amount of subsequent movement can suppress. In Whispering Pines 9 (2009), a woman is so devastated by an estimate given by an Antiques Roadshow expert that her body breaks into pieces.

In Galactic Pot Healer (2010), a seer in a pink Snuggie tells a woman that her broken ceramic vessel is beyond repair. Instead, the entity offers her a “healing massage,” over the course of which the woman’s back is kneaded into a replacement pot. In the works excerpted here, Moulton confronts the melancholic corps morcélé, and looks to the mundane objects and practices at her fingertips if not to make it whole, then at least to make it new.

Julie Born Schwartz

再吻一次, ONE MORE KISS

Residency

2014

http://onemorekiss.otdac.org

Grey dust is covering the trees. It makes them sparkle like silver leaves in the wind. The sky is hanging on large billboards.

He hears the rain drumming on the window and looks at the shadow falling from the lit-up rose. She takes his hand. Place your fingers on the black mirror. Close your eyes. Try to relax. He paints a landscape. The thick ink touches the paper, and the water runs in circles through the mountains. Each night he paints the same motif again and again.

For an interview with the artist about her residency, please click here.

Artist
Category
Residency
Tags
, , , ,
Year
2014
Dates
September 2014 - December 2014

Megan Rooney

Tilia americana

Commission

2014

http://tiliaamericana.otdac.org

For her artwork commission, Megan Rooney has created Tilia americana, a set of five sequential, multi-framed videos with an accompanying narrated text. The videos incorporate elements of drawing, sculpture and performance, portraying women obscured by water-coloured pillow cases in different suburban situations. The audio track accompanying the videos is a voiceover of the artist reading a fractured and dreamlike prose poem.

For an interview with the artist about her commission, please click here. For a transcript of the narrative, please click here.

Artist
Category
Commission
Tags
, , , , ,
Year
2014

Michael Jackson

Slave to the Rhythm, performed at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards

Video

2014

This posthumous ‘live’ performance of a track Jackson had started working on before he died employed new technologies of video projection to create the illusion of ‘presence’, with Jackson even managing complex interactions with an ensemble of dancers in the sort of song and dance and pyrotechnics spectacle which we might rightly have expected to be HIStory. Of course this sort of posthumous video performance finds a precursor of sorts in Brandon Lee’s performance in The Crow (1994), and Hatsune Miku, a popular anime hologram popstar (produced by Sega and the comically sinister sounding Crypton Future Media), has being drawing enthusiastic crowds to ‘live’ performances in Japan for years. Perhaps due to the fame (and later infamy) that Jackson enjoyed during his lifetime his performance seems to go furthest in playing with expectations of ‘authenticity’, even hollowing out the necessity of ‘life’ from the spectacle of live entertainment. Yet, curiously these new video projection technologies are employed in other contexts precisely to provide a sense of ‘authentic presence’, where none would otherwise be available. For example, when on the election campaign trail, the current Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi of the Indian People’s party (BJP) used hologramic ‘live’ performances to travel the country, speaking directly to the billion-strong electorate. The disputes that emerged around Jackson’s estate in the wake of his death seems to suggest that some interesting issues around intellectual property and the ‘image’ rights of dead artists might emerge in the not so distant future. I am going long on Marina Abramović installing a permanent digital ‘presence’ in her private museumoleum.

Ryan Trecartin

Videos on UbuWeb

Video

2014

http://www.ubuweb.com/film/trecartin.html

Ryan Trecartin’s work might strike many as passé – so 2009! – given that a new ‘generation’ of artists has emerged in the last few years, expanded the space for ‘digital’ work within the main channels of contemporary art, where Trecatin was a more lonely figure a half-decade ago. Indeed, he is now something of an establishment figure in the field, as far as such a thing exists, acting as co-curator of The New Museum’s 2015 Triennial. Indeed, some are already likely to see his work as being principally of ‘historical’ significance rather than as an active creative concern. Yet, this might in itself be symptomatic of the accelerated tempo of social media trends, where the rise and fall of critical currency mirrors the lifecycle of memes; something from which the art world is hardly insulated in an era of Contemporary Art Daily, e-flux newsfeeds, Facebook pages for exhibition openings and YouTube trailers for museum shows. Indeed, Trecartin’s work arguably has relevance beyond the half-life of fashion precisely because it directly engages – or rather over-performs – the manic, non-stop, media-stacked, multi-channeled, attention-deficient-inducing temporalities of the contemporary social-media landscape, and the patterns of subjective breakdown, proliferation and vicarious ‘rebirths’ which it demands/allows. Trecartin seems to approach the contemporary psycho-media complex by way of a sort of immanent overload – an over-identification with media-saturated modes of online subjectification, one marked by an exponential intensification of the strategies of ‘mimetic exacerbation’ familiar from Dada. His films cast the cacophonous simultaneity of images and voices familiar from early twentieth century avant-garde strategies of collage and montage in to the screen-space of pop-up windows, chat boxes, messages alerts and break-ups via Skype, in order to more intensely inhabit the emo world of online self-realization narratives, wish-fulfillment avatars and webcam cosplay. Whilst his films seem to push certain tendencies within online self-presentation and social-media relations in the direction of a claustrophobic web dystopia – a Hieronymus Bosch-like digital clusterfuck – Trecartin also importantly presents these media platforms as sites for the intensification of subjective experimentation, his films dissolving and remodeling gender and sexual identities in a way that hollows out any remnants of essentialism without evacuating power from (often traumatic) processes of subjectification.

I can still remember my first, visceral encounters with his films in 2009, fittingly experienced hunched over a laptop in bed, rather than in the more spacious confines of a gallery or museum. Even then UbuWeb (perhaps problematically) granted Trecartin a place within its archival canon as a sort of ‘instant classic’, but his work remains prescient in its hyperbolic embodiment of the relationship between contemporary digital technologies and subjectivity.

Frank Gehry

New York (Advertisement)

Video

2014

This advertisement for a recent skyscraper designed by Frank Gehry in downtown Manhattan seems to offer a perfect distillation of the way in which the contemporary global city is marketed as a plaything/investment opportunity for a mobile international elite, and highlights the role of starchitects in adding the spectacular icing to the crude real-estate cake at the core of this project. The title of course already implies that this is New York with a Gehry twist – the city itself remade, Gehry-style. Sure enough, the advert starts with the hands of the ‘genius’ drawing – his gestures evoking the rush of New York’s streets, the waves of the bay, the Statue of Liberty’s torch (Immigration! New York still wants you – for the right price), and so on, all of which find their way into the twisted surface of an otherwise bland condo/office tower whose ‘cutting edge’ cladding already looks cheap and out-of-date in its very of-the-minuteness (like so many recent ‘iconic’ towers Gehry’s seems sheathed in the imminent aesthetic obsolescence of the latest design software). Yet by the close New York has been reduced to an image on a tablet screen that can be reassuringly swiped away – an infinitely seductive distraction that can sometimes be a bit much. Hence, the building not only promises stunning ipad-like views over the city but complete god-like control over urban life, and a neat leveraged solution to the perennial real estate dilemma of the wealthy New Yorker: ‘I love the energy of the city but I need a calm place to escape from it all, a place just to be”.

Hito Steyerl

Interview on Picture This

Interview

2014

http://www.picture-this.org.uk/worksprojects/works/by-date/2010/in-free-fall

Hito Steyerl is one of those artists whose practice not only involves the production of art works – largely films in Steyerl’s case – but also the written theorization of their production, and the position of artistic production in relation to social and political power more broadly. Hence, for Steyerl, the discursive systems that surround art works – governing their dissemination, display, evaluation and sale – do not simply supplement their production but form a constitutive part of it.

This is one good reason for choosing an interview where Steyerl discusses her film In Free Fall (2010), rather than the film itself. The other reason is that the film, like most of Steyerl’s other work, is not available online. This may seem to make her an odd choice for this platform which celebrates all that is accessible online, but the very inaccessibility of her work raises a number of important questions about the nature and evaluation of artistic labour on the one hand and the legal status and digital proliferation of images on the other, concerns that have long been key to Steyerl’s practice.

In Free Fall attempts to track the material and financial processes that make the production and dissemination of film possible, both her own and those of major Hollywood studios. She follows the entangled flow of images, materials and commodities involved in the production of her film, from an ‘airplane graveyard’ in the U.S., where Hollywood action shots are produced, to the commercial DVD used to store and sell images made from scrap metal salvaged from retired Israeli jets. It has of course been common in recent years for artists, media theorists and others to seek various ways to materialize the supposedly immaterial, puncturing the metaphysical hot air that frequently fills discussions of the Internet with so much cheap transcendence, by tracking the physical and legal infrastructures upon which the web rests. Likewise, there has been an abundance of Latourian ‘object biographies’, tracing the material processes and social network involved in the production of ready-to-hand everyday ‘things’. Nevertheless, Steyerl remains focused on the critical project of demystifying cultural production, albeit expanding its remit in to the realm of material processes, whilst avoiding the vitalist enchantment of ‘lively matter’ or the depoliticizing wonder at the sheer multiplicity of the object world that has so often seen related discussions dissolve questions of social power into ontological mystifications and the fantasy of Lion King-like get-alongs.

Nicholas O'Brien

You Alright?

Research Commission

2014

http://youalright.otdac.org

For his research commission, O’Brien has produced a script and video essay, collectively titled, You Alright?. Based on a recent trip to London, You Alright? looks at the need for space, and the apparent lack of it, for emerging artists.

For an interview with the artist about his commission, please click here.

J. T. S. Moore

Revolution OS

Documentary

2014

This documentary is an essential watch for anyone interested in internet policy anyone that uses a computer today. It tracks the evolution of software from being predominantly developed via programmers committed to open source philosophy to its privatization, and the cultural impacts of such.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolution_OS